IAF Methods

Final exercise

by for . Last edit was about 3 years ago
any 26 - 50
Used to conclude workshop that has included several physical activities, such as ropes & plank exercises.
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To complete the experience of a workshop that has involved active physical exercises (rope, planks etc). Helps embed teamworking and creativity, and "lifts" participants at conclusion of workshop.


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  • At least one facilitator for each 2 teams.



Setting: Best outdoor, following several other physical exercises. Good variety of equipment (ropes, planks, poles, bricks, etc - more the better) that participants have already used. Some paper and pens would be useful.

Number of participants: 26-50

Types of participants: Any number of memsbers of one or more teams, as part of a longer workshop with teambuilding activities (and optionally creativity and leadership activities).

Ideal conditions: Done at end of a 1day+ workshop with signifcant number of physical exercises including equipment (ropes, planks, bricks, poles, pipes, etc - more the better).
Participants should be at a state where they have learned and accepted the principles of team work, and think they are getting quite good at it. They will have become used to the physical exercises and may be starting to think they can cope with whatever is thrown at them, and therefore become slightly bored, and with the end of the workshop approaching,  thinking about going back to their normal work.

Pre-Work Required: Participants must have completed several exercises using the equipment, so they are familiar with it.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: Participants should be familiar with the facilitator, and have done a number of physical exercises in teamwork.

Facilitator personality fit: Facilitator must be comfortable with physical exercises (use of equipment, H&S issues etc). Facilitator must be flexible in coping with exercises that may result.


Split into two teams (if too many then use any even number of teams). Split all the equipment you have used during workshop into two equal piles. Instruct the teams of their task: "You must design an exercise for the other team to complete. The exercise can use any of the equipment. Apply the experience you have gained to ensure that it is challenging but possible. You can set whatever constraints you like that are applicable. Set a time for them to complete it [facilitator should set a maximum for this]. You have 20 minutes to design the task [Facilitator can allow longer if there is plenty of time and a lot of equipment to choose from]. If the other team cannot complete the exercise and challenges you that it is not possible, you will have to show it can be done".

Teams then move sufficiently far away from each other to avoid overhearing (out of sight if possible so they can experiment with equipment, but facilitator should be able to keep them in sight to ensure they don't do anything dangerous).
One team then briefs the other on the exercise they have designed, the team attempts to do it with the designing team "facilitating" (while the facilitator keeps a careful eye on all of them), and if necessary the designing team demonstrates how the exercise can be done. The designing team runs a feedback/review, Teams then switch over and the other team facilitates the exercise they have designed.


Follow-Up Required: Overall feedback/review on how well each team did in (1) designing an exercise, (2) facilitating the exercise, (3) performing the exercise, (4) running feedback/review.
Usual follow-up of what went well/not so well, lessons learned etc.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: Embeds lessons in teamwork and creativity learned earlier.
Raises morale of participants at end of workshop, ensuring that workshop ends on a high and positive views of it are taken away.The participants also gain experience in facilitating others, which helps them ensure lessons learned in the workshop are implemented back at work.A side-benefit is that the participants gain an appreciation of how hard it is to design and run exercises,and an increased respect for facilitators!

Potential pitfalls: Unavailable

How success is evaluated: Do all teams sucessfully produce and execute the two parts of the exercise? Does the exercise leave a "buzz" amongst the participants?

Examples of successes and failures: On all occasions used the exercise worked well, achieving desired results. Worked especially well in some cases where due to limited equipment and other physical constraints the exercises had started to be just variations on a theme and participants were getting too good at them and a little bored. In several cases the exercise has generated new ideas of exercises for the facilitator to add to their portfolio.


Source: Bernard P Gore

Derived from: Any and all of the rope/plank/brick/pole etc exercises.

History of Development: Based on extensive experience of rope/plank/brick/pole etc type exercises, following realisation that after doing more than a few of these over two days (even when interspersed with other types of exercise) they can get a bit similar and even boring. Making teams think about designing their own is a whole different type of exercise that effectively tests what they have learned and their ability to apply it. Actually came about in a moment of inspiration toward the end of a workshop, when teams were starting to flag and didn't have any spare equipment to vary the exercises.

Recognizable components: Set goal, establish constraints, creativity, plan, manage time, communication, follow-up and feedback.

References: Set goal, establish constraints, creativity, plan, manage time, communication, follow-up and feedback.

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